James Nisbet

  • Jack Goldstein, Burning Window, 1977/2015, wood, Plexiglas, acrylic paint, lights, dimensions variable.

    Jack Goldstein

    Exhibiting three of Jack Goldstein’s lesser-known works—his Burning Window installation, 1977/2015, and two sets of text-based Aphorisms (both dated 1982) painted on the gallery wall—this show distilled a tension within Goldstein’s practice between mundane observation and metaphysical introspection. Burning Window consists of a single window frame containing four panes of textured Plexiglas placed in the center of a gallery wall that has been painted bloodred. Behind this window, flickering red lights give the appearance of fire. But this faux flame produces no heat. Instead, Burning

  • View of “Stan VanDerBeek,” 2014. From left: Poemfield No. 5, 1968; Poemfield No. 3, 1967. Both from the series “Poemfield,” 1965–71.

    Stan VanDerBeek

    Comprising eight films from Stan VanDerBeek’s “Poemfield” series, 1965–71, including two versions of Poemfield No. 1, 1967, and more than two dozen of the artist’s works on paper, this exhibition provided a welcome point of access to one of the late twentieth century’s major innovators of computer-based visual art during a key period of his production. Appropriately, the “Poemfield”films were accorded pride of place, projected side by side in the Box’s large main gallery space.

    Each of the films hinges on a poem written by VanDerBeek. Unfolding as associative wordplay and emphasizing the words’

  • Michael Moshe Dahan, Two Points of Failure (2014), color, sound, 13 minutes.
    interviews April 19, 2014

    Michael Moshe Dahan

    Michael Moshe Dahan is an artist and filmmaker based in Southern California. His film Two Points of Failure (2014) was included in the International Film Festival Rotterdam in January 2014 and will have its North American premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival with screenings on April 23, 25, 26, and 27, 2014. Composed of only two shots with a combined run time of thirteen minutes, the film observes the chemical dissolution and then reconstitution of two negative transparencies.

    IN THE FIRST SHOT WE SEE AN IMAGE OF JEAN-LUC GODARD on the day he received a prototype for a camera that he had had

  • Liz Larner, 110 Fwy, June Gloom and Shrimp Tacos, 2013, glass, steel, bacterial culture on nutrient agar, detritus from 110 Freeway, sampling of “June Gloom,” shrimp tacos, 13 1/4 x 13 1/4 x 6 1/4".

    Liz Larner

    “We all want stability,” Liz Larner once commented, “but it’s forever slipping away from us, even on the most personal level.” Larner’s new series of ceramic sculptures suggests that stability eludes us on the most objective, terrestrial level as well. Combining a global outlook on geology with a locally sourced sensibility formed in Southern California, Larner’s exhibition—comprising twelve wall-mounted ceramics, three large-scale sculptures, and a small gallery of related work—offered a meditation on the surface realities of inhabiting the earth. The wall works—which, despite

  • Barry Le Va, Diagrammatic Silhouettes: Sculptured Activities (Black Stress), 1987, ink on paper collage, 80 x 80".

    Barry Le Va

    Although best known for his sprawling sculptural investigations, Barry Le Va has consistently made works on paper throughout his varied career. During the 1960s and ’70s, these usually took the form of plans for three-dimensional installations; often depicted from an aerial perspective, they would lay out complex distributions of items such as ball bearings, felt, aluminum, and chalk across gallery floors. But of the six works that were on display in “Large Scale Collages: 1985–1991,” only two follow this strategy: Study for Sculpture Occupying 2 Area. CPE/Reading Beckett; Reading Bernard #1,

  • The Otolith Group, Medium Earth, 2013, HD video with sound, 41 minutes.
    picks May 30, 2013

    The Otolith Group

    “What do faults promise?” asks a soft-spoken voice in the Otolith Group’s latest film Medium Earth, 2013. “What assurances do they give when they seek the line of least resistance?” The sole work on display in the London-based group’s first exhibition on the West Coast is a meditation on such faults, which is to say, on both seismic power and ecological culpability. Over forty-one minutes, during which a restless camera pans across freeways, follows the irregular forms of a desiccated desert landscape, and methodically inspects the cracks of underground parking garages, the film develops a

  • Derek Boshier, Swan, 1962, diptych, oil on canvas, wood frame, overall 72 x 24".

    Derek Boshier

    More than a decade before he was designing album art for David Bowie and the Clash, Derek Boshier was among a vital group of painters reshaping British Pop art during the early 1960s. Coming through the Royal College of Art with an influential cohort that included David Hockney, Pauline Boty, and R. B. Kitaj, Boshier cultivated a sharper political edge in his work than these contemporaries. He was less invested in the “ironism of affirmation” (Hal Foster) or “fascinated ambivalence” (Christopher Finch) that critics associate with Brit Pop of this period, and instead incorporated into his art

  • Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, Hog Pasture: Survival Piece #1, 1970–71, wooden container of earth with light box of equal size above, 48 x 96 x 144".
    picks July 11, 2012

    “Ends of the Earth”

    In the first major museum exhibition dedicated to Land art, curators Philipp Kaiser and Miwon Kwon deliver a worthy retrospective of the varied media and geographical locations of its formative years. As thematized in the show and elaborated on in its beautifully produced catalogue, the incorporation of earth as material and metaphor into the production of art during the late 1960s was not a development limited exclusively to American and western European artists; nor was Land art wholly a practice of creating sculpture with the earth at outdoor sites. “Ends of the Earth” instead underscores

  • Emilie Halpern, Mysticeti, 2012, silver gelatin print, 26 1/2  x 39 1/2”.
    picks January 28, 2012

    Emilie Halpern

    The key to Emilie Halpern’s second solo exhibition at this gallery turns upon the relationship of what one encounters on the floor to that on the walls. On the floors of two separate downstairs rooms lie two entirely irregular objects: on one side, a smattering of twenty-nine empty emu eggs, some of which have been smashed, and on the other, a large puddle containing four liters of ocean water, freshly poured each morning. The presence of these thoroughly corporeal materials—the one invoking Halpern’s own recent experience with pregnancy, the other the measure of water required to fill human

  • Judith Bernstein, A Soldier’s Christmas, 1967, mixed media, Brillo and Christmas lights on canvas, 92 x 46".
    picks May 05, 2011

    Judith Bernstein

    Judith Bernstein paints dirty. Dating from her graduate work at Yale in 1966–67, her canvases in this exhibition, featuring saturated red and yellow slogans protesting the American invasion of Southeast Asia, carry forward a little-explored pathway in postwar art. A Soldier’s Christmas, 1967, is a case in point. Emblazoned along the right half of the canvas is the phrase BABY THE FUCKIN YOU GET AINT WORTH THE FUCKIN YOU TAKE, while the opposite half includes a Brillo-wire wreath threaded with a strand of functional multicolor Christmas lights, all of which encircles a dense patch of globular

  • Mike Kelley, Kandor 10 A (Grotto), 2010, elastomer foam, blown glass with water-based resin coating, wood, enamel urethane rubber, acrylic paint, lighting fixtures, clothing and lenticular panels, 11 x 16 x 12’.
    picks February 10, 2011

    Mike Kelley

    In this exhibition, Mike Kelley combines two of his major ongoing major projects: the “Kandor” series, 1999–, and the Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstructions [EAPRs], 2005–. The outcome retrospectively distills a staggering complex of visual tropes from the history of artistic production since Cézanne. On display is a twenty-first-century tour de force of twentieth-century aesthetics.

    To begin, Kelley’s new amalgamations speak to a notion of doubling: seeking common denominators between the Kandors, which replicate the encasement of Superman’s eponymous hometown in glass jars, and

  • View of  “Tropical Vulture,” 2010.
    picks December 26, 2010

    George Kuchar

    Pagan Rhapsody, a 1970 short by the American independent-cinema pioneer George Kuchar, unfolds via an unusual juxtaposition of interior spaces. While one drama, concerning repressed homoerotic desire, takes place in an entirely mundane urban apartment, another, featuring a histrionic aristocrat attempting to seduce a young actress, transpires within a grand estate that traffics in an unusual zone between Transylvanian house of horror and hippie love nest. Throughout the film, actions that occur in one space seem to inexplicably influence those in the other, and the work culminates in the